American, European and Japanese vital interests in the Middle East are roughly the same (security and oil), but the policies have been divergent and often in conflict. At a conference held in 1980, scholars from all three regions and from the Middle East itself discussed what could be done about it. The main impression one gets is confusion, repetition, complexity, a maze with no exit; but that is a reflection on the nature of the problems, not on the authors or editor. Most of the pieces are in fact well presented. They do not lead one to expect a common, effective Western policy.